On Tuesday morning, Marian Bies-de Wolf was working at TEFAF, the world’s pre-eminent effective artwork and antiquities festivals, when she noticed a bunch of males operating by way of its corridors.
It was an odd sight, she mentioned in a phone interview, since “no person runs at TEFAF,” which is held yearly in Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Then issues received stranger, Ms. Bies-de Wolf mentioned, as the lads pulled out a heavy object and “began bashing up” a glass case within the subsequent sales space, which belonged to the London jewellery seller Symbolic & Chase. Ms. Bies-de Wolf couldn’t see if the lads took something, she mentioned; after somebody shouted that the thieves had a gun, she ran away.
A number of hours after the theft, it was nonetheless unclear what the thieves had stolen. The Dutch police mentioned in a information launch that 4 males had taken jewellery, however gave no additional data. Two males from Belgium had been arrested and their potential involvement was being investigated, it added, whereas a seek for different folks related to the theft was ongoing.
Wim Coenen, a spokesman for the Dutch police in Limburg, the area that covers Maastricht, mentioned in a phone interview that he couldn’t remark additional or state whether or not any jewellery had been recovered.
A spokesman for Symbolic & Chase declined to touch upon the incident.
TEFAF, also called the European Tremendous Artwork Honest, is among the world’s longest-running artwork festivals specializing in effective artwork and antiquities. The present version, its thirty fifth, opened on Saturday and runs by way of Thursday.
This yr’s occasion options 242 sellers, amongst them Symbolic & Chase. In line with its Instagram feed, Symbolic & Chase had a mess of things on show on the truthful, together with diamond rings, and an intricate, Japanese-inspired gold bracelet.
TEFAF’s organizers didn’t point out the truthful had skilled a theft on social media. In a post on Twitter they mentioned that the truthful was “briefly evacuated as a result of an incident,” and was “nonetheless open to guests and exhibitors.”
But occasions appeared extra dramatic to witnesses. James Butterwick, a British seller, mentioned by cellphone that he was simply yards from the theft when it occurred. Mr. Butterwick mentioned he walked out of one other sales space to see a person attempting to smash a glass case.
A Dutch truthful customer picked up a vase of flowers and tried to confront the robbers, Mr. Butterwick added, just for one of many thieves to tug out what gave the impression to be a gun, which he waved at onlookers. “Issues took a little bit of a flip for the more serious,” Mr. Butterwick mentioned.
Mr. Butterwick, whose account was corroborated by video footage of the robbery posted on social media, mentioned the occasion lasted about 30 seconds. He didn’t see what the robbers stole, he added, however they appeared to be “after particular gadgets.”
When he entered the truthful, Mr. Butterwick mentioned, safety personnel on the entrance “took an in depth take a look at you,” and checked luggage, although nobody needed to stroll by way of metallic detectors or was patted down.
He added that he didn’t see any safety guards confront the robbers. TEFAF mentioned in an electronic mail assertion on Tuesday afternoon that the Dutch police have been on web site inside minutes. “No person was injured through the incident,” the TEFAF assertion added.
This isn’t the primary time TEFAF has been hit by a theft. In 2008, thieves stole a diamond necklace value about $1.8 million from the truthful; in 2010, a hoop and necklace value about $1.3 million have been stolen from a sales space run by Hancocks, one other London jewellery seller.
Hancocks didn’t reply to a request for an interview on Tuesday.